Archives for January 2006

The Many Layers of Hell

I can’t remember who said that there are many levels of Hell, but I know that there are many and that I have been to at least a couple. The Department of Motor Vehicles, The Mall during the holidays and most recently Costco and Trader Joe’s market on a Sunday afternoon.

It is common knowledge among the intellectual elite that venturing to a Trader Joe’s, home of “Two Buck Chuck” vintage wines and fine cheeses will involve solving a puzzle that is a prerequisite for entrance into Mensa. It is called parking. Some sick man/woman in their corporate office gleefully searches for store locations that cannot support the traffic that the store will bring, or so it seems.

I conducted an unscientific survey in which I drove to four stores and then polled the people there and the three dogs that were tied up in front of the stores about this. All of them agree that parking at any Trader Joe’s is an exercise in treachery and guile best left to politicians or those of low moral fiber.

But food is the way to my heart, next to the miles of veins and arteries interred inside my body and I decided that my family required sustenance. As the hunter-gatherer in the household I was required by nature to dare to traverse the challenges that this entailed.

So I ask the dear reader, was I just fool hardy on this errand or is it poor customer service to ask your customers to engage in demolition derby so that they can frequent your store in hope’s of buying food. All I know is that the experience in the parking lot was merely a warm-up for what was waiting inside. As I approached the store I grabbed a shopping cart and bravely entered, armed for bear and ready for hand-to-hand combat.

Needless to say I was not surprised to find aisles packed with hungry shoppers all of whom had the same shopping list as I. Who would have thought that we all needed cheese, soy milk, crackers, cereal, chocolate, wine, juice and produce, more specifically blueberries. The same evil executive who designed the parking lot was surely chuckling as we banged and bounced off of each other’s carts and bodies. In my younger days I would have enjoyed the adventure, but now it just rubbed me raw.

After what felt like days I managed to check out and take my purchases home for deposit into the refrigerator and cupboards. But something in my skull must have been jarred during this experience, because I knew that my shopping was not done. Now I had to run the gauntlet and go to Costco.

Costco, another parking nightmare not unlike Trader Joe’s, but on a much larger scale. Costco, where I knew that the primitives would lose their minds and trample me and small children in the fight to get the free sample of the seafood dip or the greasy slice of pizza. Costco where you go broke saving money by purchasing two tons of toilet paper at a time.

The good news is that you’ll never worry about wiping, but you may worry about wiping out your checkbook. That is assuming of course that you can get a parking space without being overcome by road rage. And assuming that you manage to win the fight to maintain composure there is still the very real chance that you may succumb to some other malady, some other shopping rage. There is only so much one person can take. You can’t be bumped and pushed a hundred times or prevented from reading the description of that new fruit drink they are offering. Heaven forbid, you might miss out on taking advantage of the deep discount they offer for a trough of butter.

Why oh why do the folks in Kirkland not understand that we want, no must have parking attendants in the lot, turn signals on the carts and signal lights on the aisles. How much more bruising can a person’s lower back take before Kirkland understands that shopping carts need padding.

Because the tragedy of this is that while you can shop at both of these stores online you cannot squeeze the pears, nor smell the sausage or appreciate the scent of a good melon. There are still some challenges that technology has yet to overcome. Oh the humanity of it all.

Deconstructing Bin Laden

Victor Davis Hanson has a very interesting article that I encourage you to read. I have supplied the link and a couple of paragraphs. It is called:

Deconstructing Bin Laden

“We don’t know whether the latest and much-discussed Osama bin Laden tape was recorded recently. But the harangue is still a valuable reflection of the current al Qaeda hierarchy that broadcast it to the world.

First, things must be going very badly for the terrorists to propose a ceasefire: “We don’t mind offering you a long-term truce.”

In truth, the winning side does not ask for a reprieve. Losing autocrats — whether the officers of the German army in the summer of 1918 or Hitler’s cadre in the spring of 1945 — always “don’t mind” sending out peace feelers in the 11th hour to salvage their power before they lose it for good.

That is not to say there won’t be more sacrifices to come. The battles of the Bulge and Okinawa were the most costly for Americans of World War II, and ended just months before the Nazi and Japanese capitulations.

But examine al Qaeda’s plight. Bin Laden’s home base in Afghanistan is lost for good. Elites of his terrorist organization are targeted from the air even in the supposedly safe Pakistani borderlands. Plenty of al Qaeda terrorists have been killed in Iraq. Europe is suddenly galvanizing against Islamic fascism. (France even mentions the unmentionable of targeting terrorist patrons with nuclear weapons.) India has no tolerance for Islamic extremism. The terrorist sponsors of Iran and Syria are finally becoming international pariahs. And thousands of Muslims have demonstrated in Lebanon and Jordan against terrorist bombers.

Because bin Laden has failed to repeat 9/11, he oddly feels he must explain to his American targets why he has been unable to kill them. In a “Wizard of Oz” pay-no attention-to-that-man-behind-the-curtain moment, he offers us this: “The delay in similar operations happening in America has not been because of failure to break through your security measures.”

Second, al Qaeda’s talking points seem to derive from American anti-war rhetoric, as bin Laden and Co. desperately cling to the notion that our resolve may yet crumble. Whether domestic critiques of the Bush administration’s anti-terror policies are heartfelt or gratuitous, accurate or fabricated, an encouraged bin Laden doesn’t care: He simply regurgitates these arguments as his own to throw back against us. Either bin Laden can’t come up with any more grievances himself, or he figures that Americans are better at making his case for him.”

Blog Disappointment

This is something that I suspect the majority of bloggers go through. It is a malady is best described as being upset because you spent time composing a post that you thought would be outstanding.A post that you were certain was so good that you wouldn’t have time to respond to all of the comments because you knew that within an hour of putting it up there would be at least 15 and by the end of the day there would be hundreds.

Only the exact opposite happens. You upload your post and anxiously await your first comment but there is nothing. It is like being back in high school. Your parents went out of town and left you home alone with strict instructions not to throw any parties.

Of course as soon as they left you spent a ton of time notifying everyone about the amazing 16 keg Bacchanalian festival that you have planned and no one came. And then the disappointment and depression set in.

Why, oh why are there no comments. You tried so hard to be funny, to be witty and insightful. There is a very cool picture and that clever phrase you were saving for the perfect post. You know the one I am talking about. It is the phrase that you are sure is going to become the new rage. You’ll be like that girl, the one who made “Dooced” a part of popular culture. The next Forest Gump movie is definitely going to include some reference to you/it.

But unlike in Field of Dreams, when you built it they didn’t come. It is time to take off that special party dress. It is time to put the collar back down on your shirt. It was cool to wear it like that in the 80’s and you thought that you’d bring back the trend but now you know you just look sloppy and disheveled.

My friend, you haven’t even hit the worst part of this. The worst part is that at some point you are going to stumble onto a blog in which they have produced the same post. It may not be an exact duplicate. It may not be a word for word reproduction but essentially there are only minor differences but one big distinction.

And that distinguishing feature is that those million comments you had hoped to receive are all on this other blog and there is nothing there to show that you had the idea first. Not a link, not a comment, not a simple thank you for the idea.

Maybe Kohellet was right and there is nothing new beneath the sun.

But have no fear little blogging buddy. Life is a journey in which we learn from experiences. The measure of a person is how they respond to adversity, not how many comments they get or how much traffic they receive.

Live long and prosper grasshopper and may the blogger be with you.

Their Thoughts on Hamas

Soccer Dad has put together a good roundup regarding the Hamas victory. Read it.

On a separate note Forbes reports the following:

A Hamas leader asked the international community on Monday not to cut aid to the Palestinian Authority, insisting the money would go toward helping the Palestinian people and Hamas was willing to have its spending monitored.

Ismail Haniyeh, a Hamas leader in Gaza, also said the Islamic militant group is ready to negotiate the terms of continued foreign aid with donor countries.

He spoke ahead of Monday’s meeting of the so-called Quartet of Mideast mediators – the United States, the European Union, the United Nations and Russia – to discuss the repercussions of Hamas’ election victory. The United States and European nations have said they will cut off aid to a Hamas-led government unless the group recognizes Israel, renounces violence and adheres to interim peace deals with Israel.”

You’ll forgive me for being skeptical. I am sure that they will spend that aid just as they say they will. I am positive that they’ll put on a big show demonstrating how charitable and kind they are.

Behind the scenes they’ll rub their hands in glee and chuckle knowing that they don’t have to be beg for as much money and will continue constructing scenarios of death and destruction.

If you ask for the two cent analysis about why they do not want to see two states living side by side it is because if that ever happens they will be forced to face a new reality in which Israel can respond to acts of violence the way a country traditionally responds to acts of war.

The accountability of their actions is far different as a state than as a terrorist group and they are well aware of it. More on this to come.

Sunday Night’s Main Event

Memory- A Game We All Can Play

Sleep Apnea

Search Terms Used to Find My Blog

The erosion of anonymous Internet speech

It left an Impression on Me

Past Posts You Might Enjoy:

My Penis is Sad

Scenes From a Car

My Son & The Strip Club